Nigerians awaiting their second dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can sigh of relief as the government on 17 August 2021 received additional 699,760 doses in Abuja.
The vaccines, donated to COVAX by the United Kingdom (UK) will immensely support government’s response to the pandemic.
Receiving the vaccines at the National Strategic Cold Store, the Executive Director (ED), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the vaccine would be deployed to the States immediately and administered to Nigerians due for their second dose.
The ED said the delivery was timely because Nigeria just launched the second phase of the vaccination campaign with the four million doses of Moderna vaccine donated by the United States Government and the 177,600 Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) procured through the African Union.
He added that all vaccines given by the government are certified safe by the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The contribution from the UK government gives additional strength to Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19
Recall that Nigeria had commenced the first phases of the COVID-19 vaccination using the 3.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) received from the COVAX facility. The vaccines were used for frontline workers, among other high risk groups.
Commending the gesture of the UK government, the WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, in his goodwill message, said the donated vaccine would allow those who have taken the first jab to receive the second dose.
Appreciating the government for its effort in ensuring that all Nigerians have the opportunity to get the vaccines, Dr Mulombo said Nigeria is expected to receive more doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility.
“The contribution from the UK government gives additional strength to Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19. I will implore Nigerians who are yet to receive the vaccine should as it is safe. All the vaccines received by the government – (AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen’s Johnson and Johnson) are safe”, Dr Mulombo said.
The shipment of the UK-donated doses as part of a broader pledge to share 100 million vaccines with the rest of the world, of which 80% will be through COVAX.
Speaking at the hand-over ceremony, the acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atiknson, said the vaccines delivered to Nigeria is part of the three million doses that the UK donated to 11 countries across Africa to help them fight against COVID-19.
She said the UK continue to play a global role in promoting an effective roll-out of the vaccine, including as one of the largest COVAX donor and through its engagement with Nigeria led response.
The COVAX facility, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), working in partnership with UNICEF, the World Bank, civil society organizations, manufacturers, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both high-income and lower-income countries.